Cycling is a fun outdoor activity that brings many benefits to the rider and the community. The City of Huntsville has undertaken an initiative to become a more bicycle-friendly city, which will expand the city’s bicycle facilities (bike parking, lanes, greenways, paths, etc.) and promote awareness and education of the proper ways to ride (and ride with) bicycles on the road, to help encourage more and safer cycling in the city.
Explore the links below to learn more about cycling in and around Huntsville.
- Bike Maps
- Riding In
- Parking and Mass Transit
- Advice for Road Users
Why Ride in Huntsville
There are many reasons you should consider riding a bicycle in Huntsville:
- For Transportation
Bicycles are one of the most efficient vehicles. Bicycles can be vital for those who do not want to drive or prefer to travel by a method other than car or bus. They provide independence.
- For Recreation
Cyclists travel the city, county, and state to explore the world by bike.
- For Fitness
Cycling is a low impact aerobic activity that all ages can enjoy. Cyclists can burn tremendous energy over a long ride.
- For Competition
Racing, whether professional or amateur, is exciting for cyclists and spectators alike.
- For the Freedom
Bicycles will take you places you have never been. You will be off the beaten path and time will slow down.
- For the fun of it!
Know the Laws
Alabama laws require bicycles to have a white light on the front (at night) and a red reflector on the rear. Anyone under the age of 16 is also required to wear a helmet (view other Alabama bicycle laws). Beyond that, wearing reflective clothing, bicycling gloves, and clear or tinted glasses; having a red blinking light on the rear; and having a good knowledge of bicycle handling and traffic skills pays great dividends. Having reflectors on your pedals and reflective items on your wheels make you more visible from the side and behind. You don’t have to wear fancy bicycling clothes but do need to wear light colors and include reflective features. The more visible the better.
The City of Huntsville prohibits sidewalk cycling. (Read the ordinance.) If you or your children use sidewalks, you MUST YIELD to all others all the time. Each year, approximately 20 of 7,100 traffic reports involve bicyclists. Of those reports, about 40% are cyclists riding on sidewalks. It may seem safer to a causal bicyclist, but it is a false perception. Rather than being less diligent, one MUST be considerably MORE diligent. If anything goes wrong, everyone involved suffers, especially the bicyclist.
The Nature of Our Roads and Streets
The streets and roads included as bicycle routes are not universally friendly to casual cyclists. Some portions are busy, some are fast, and some have daunting grades. Many of these roads have either three or five lanes (there is a turn lane in the center). This allows motor vehicle drivers the ability to maneuver around a bicyclist without entering the oncoming traffic lanes. Many of these roads have "Share the Road" signage. As repairs, expansions, and other road building occurs these roads are the ones identified as those that "must have" bicycle-friendly facilities included in the future.
The current version of the bike route map doesn’t identify degree of ease or grades. Every cyclist must judge suitability for themselves. So, if you are NOT familiar with these streets, check out the route in advance or try it out on a Sunday morning when it is quiet. As you become a stronger cyclist, consider adding hills and grades into your routes. If you do, your pride and your range of travel will expand too.